Pear Zucchini Stir Fry

On August 29, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Before last Sunday I had no clue what a Pear Zucchini was so don’t worry if you do not either.  You can substitue any vegetable here.  A ‘normal’ green zucchini or yellow squash is fine or skip both and add cauliflower and/or broccoli.  Basically this is anything you want it to be.

However, if you are lucky and can find a Pear Zucchini I do recommend it. It is kind of like a zucchini and cucumber hybrid.  It’s a bit sweet and little firmer than a typical zucchini, plus it looks beautiful on your kitchen counter.  I found the one I’m using here at the Alhambra Farmers’ Market held every Sunday morning only a few miles from our home.

Pear Zucchini Stir Fry
Serves 2

1/2 Pear Zucchini or 2 zucchinis, cut into cubes
2 carrots, cut into half moons
12 green beans
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 soy sauce
1/4 tsp brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

In a wok, add sesame oil and minced ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes to release flavors.  Add vegetable broth, soy sauce and brown rice vinegar in wok, whisk together and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.  Remove sauce from pan and set aside. Do not rinse wok.

Return wok to heat and add onions and carrots cooking for a couple minutes then add zucchini.  Add curry powder and some fresh cracked pepper.  Cook in wok for about 3 minutes.  Return sauce to wok and cook for another couple minutes.

In a small cup combine a teaspoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water.  Add to wok right before serving mixing it into the sauce, this will thicken the sauce right before serving.

Serve with rice.

 

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Sour Cream Enchiladas

On August 27, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Sour Cream Enchilada served with Corn Chowder

I don’t make a lot of recipes that call for three cans of anything, but I decided to make an exception since these looked so good.  I did go with some different brands using some Pacific Natural Foods for the Cream of Chicken and Muir Glen Organics for the tomato and chilies.

The sauce in this recipe can be reduced by half since you really don’t need such a thick layer of it as it is presented in the source recipe.  Also, note the author’s comment, to stir the sour cream, cream of chicken and cilantro mixture regularly to keep a smooth texture.

You need about half the amount of shredded cheese too. Making these minor changes will make it slightly lighter, but this is sour cream enchiladas. No one is pretending this is a healthy choice.

The chicken mixture can also skip canned green chilies and substitute fresh chilies, preferably 1 serrano or 1 hatch chile, seeded and washed then finely diced.

Preparation is easy. Look for some decent locally made tortillas from a Mexican market, taqueria, or Farmers’ Market if available in your area.

The lesser amount of sour cream sauce and cheese will look something like this. I had ran out of tortillas, only making 5 enchiladas due to the boys and I eating a couple tortillas the day before I finally got around to making this dish.

This is definitely a dish worth trying with or without my edits. I don’t even particularly care for enchiladas but these were quite delicious and simple to make.

For the full recipe: Skinny Sour Cream Enchiladas.

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Corn Chowder

On August 26, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s been awhile since I’ve spent some time on one of my favorite blogs: Emily Levenson. Perhaps it has a lot to do with all the change around here after leaving AT&T and Texas then getting our family settled here in Southern California, not that we are quite settled yet. I write this as we are about to get ready to go the beach instead of unpacking.

We did do some unpacking yesterday. It also gave me some time to do some cooking.

I love chowder, especially corn chowder, so when I saw Emily had a recipe for it that received some great comments.

Plus I had some sweet white corn and japanese sweet potatoes from the farmers market.

My version here looks less orange due to the white corn and lightly inside of the Japanese sweet potatoes. The flavor was really sweet and flavorful. I think next time though I’ll use a more traditional sweet potato which is not as sugary as the type I went with this time.

For the Full Recipe: Corn Chowder.

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This is my first time contributing a recipe to the great #SundaySupper group organized by Isabel.  This week’s theme is Back to School Meals.  Each recipe must be easy to make in less than 30 minutes making it an easy fit for cooking at home during a school night.

Well this is something I live by as the sole cook and income in our household, so coming home after a long day of work means I need to be able to make a great dinner with little time and with so many great peaches at our Farmers’ Markets here in Southern California I decided to do a simple, yet flavorful salad.

End of Summer Grilled Peaches and Chicken Salad
Serves 4

1 lb chicken, boneless skinless breasts
2 peaches
1 bunch of green or red leaf lettuce
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat grill for cooking chicken breasts and peaches.  In a bowl place 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper mixing together then coating boneless, skinless chicken breasts with mixture.  Place chicken breasts on half of the grill. Keeping the other half of grill free for cooking peaches. Cook chicken for about 10 minutes per side being sure not to burn.

Cut some ripe but not too soft peaches into halves and remove the pits.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the exposed inside half of the peaches. Put them non-skin side down on the grill grates and cook for 5 minutes.

For the vinaigrette, mix 1/2 cup of olive oil, honey and balsamic. Whisk together and add some salt and pepper to taste.

Turn the peaches over and brush with small amount of honey balsamic vinaigrette blend. Turn them a couple times cooking skin and non-skin sides for a few more minutes on each side being sure not too burn. Remove from grill.

Meanwhile continue grilling chicken breasts and remove when finished.

Wash lettuce and slice chicken into smaller slices laying the peach half in the center of salad and sliced chicken to the side.  Sprinkle salad with crumbled feta cheese and drizzle honey vinaigrette dressing over salad.

Serve with slice of bread.

Hope you like it and please checkout the other recipes from the rest of the #SundaySupper food bloggers!

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Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu

On August 20, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Sunday night is always a special evening when it comes to cooking.  Not only is it the last evening before the work week where I can spend more time preparing and cooking a meal.  It is also a time to enjoy some twitter chat with fellow foodies on #SundaySupper chat. Tonight they were doing recipes made or paired with wines.  I had been planning on making a Korean beef dish with rice, but switched after seeing a Pappardelle dish my friend Chuck Hemann posted to his Facebook page yesterday and after noticing it was a wine theme on #SundaySupper.

Today’s Studio City Farmers’ Market had the pasta vendor there selling some freshly made Pappardelle noodles. There were also some amazingly beautiful organic local carrots too. In case you haven’t seen what a real carrot looks like; instead of all the perfectly colored and shaped carrots at the typical grocery store, here you go.

I modified a couple Pappardelle ragu recipes.  Most called for a combo or some version with beef, pork, veal and even ground boar.  I would’ve loved making something with all four, but I only had some grass-fed ground beef.  I also went with a California Red Wine blend that added a nice rich flavor to the ragu.

Pappardelle in Red Wine Beef Ragu
Serves 4

1 lb Pappardelle noodles
1 lb ground beef
2 cups red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
28 oz can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly slided
4 Sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large stockpot add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot then add the ground beef.  Add the dried oregano, basil and some salt and pepper to taste mixing it into the ground beef in the pan.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring often to evenly cook and get some browning of the meat. Set cooked beef aside in a separate dish.

Do not clean the stockpot and return to the heat adding the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chopped sage. Cook on medium-high heat for a minute then cover and cook on low heat for another 7 minutes.  After vegetables have cooked return ground beef to pot.

Crush the canned tomatoes in a bowl with your hands.  Pour tomatoes into pot with vegetables. Add the red wine and vegetable stock. Heat the pot to a boil and then cover reducing heat to a simmer cooking for 1 1/2 hours.

In the final 20 minutes of cooking the ragu, start the water for your noodles.  When ready, add the Pappardelle noodles to the boiling water and cook accordingly. About 5 minutes for fresh and follow the directions on the package for dried noodles.

Serve with large shavings of Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

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Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes with Arugula Side Salad

On August 13, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Zucchini Cakes

“So how do they taste?” I ask my wife as I sit down at the table.

“Zucchini-y,” she responds. “They’re good. Just lots of zucchini.”

Well these cakes, patties, fritters do have quite a bit of zucchini in them.  I do recommend patting the shredded zucchini with some paper towel to remove the moister so they will hold a bit better.  I also added twice the amount of the whole wheat flour to help with hold.

The cakes go great with a simple side side. Tonight I had some local organic arugula left over from the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market.  I also sliced some cherry tomatoes and added a bit of grated parmesan cheese then topping the salad with a simple dijon mustard vinaigrette.

The recipe made 7 cakes, so plan for about 6-8 depending on the size you make them.  Also I found the cooking time to be a bit longer, about 4-5 minutes each side, since you don’t want the pan on high, but rather medium-high heat and turning often so not to burn.

Full Recipe: Zucchini Fritters. 

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